Whatever is on the menu on any given day, there’s going to be vegetables and fruits somewhere in there. They are healthy, easy to prepare and they go with everything. One very important kitchen skill therefore is to be able to make sense of the terms you see in cookbooks and recipe sites and to learn how to actualize them. Learn a few of these and soon you’ll be cutting up, cooking and making beautiful salads like a pro.
The size of cuts in a recipe is a defining factor as it determines the overall preparation time, cooking time and the final outcome of the dish especially when it comes to salads and garnishes. It also influences the flavor and palatability of the dish. If a vegetable has a strong or pungent flavor like garlic for example, smaller cuts are recommended as a big chunk of chewy pungent vegetable can spoil the whole eating experience.
Basic knife techniques can transform your meal to a beautiful work of art and actually saves you time when you master them. Larger cuts are generally good for food that is meant to be cooked through while smaller cuts are for raw vegetables and fruits to be used in salads or to be baked in pastries. These are not hard and fast rules though. It does not mean that smaller cuts cannot be cooked or that larger cuts cannot be in salads. The recipe you are working with will usually specify what type and size of cut is preferred and it’s good to know at least the most common ones. Below, in pictures, are some of the most common cuts that will be referenced in recipes.